“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden
Speaking with Peter Schantz, Ohio Wesleyan’s director of physical planning and operations, this quote seemed to summarize a reoccurring theme. Schantz manages day to day operations of campus facilities as well as longterm stewardship projects. Especially important in his work is attention to how small details can create a welcoming and cared for impression for enrolled and prospective students alike. It is with this mindset that he and his staff approach all their projects, including three very recently, in particular: the completed remodeling of the Hamilton-Williams Food Court, the current renovations to Edwards Gym, and the myriad ongoing curb side appeal initiatives.
Hamilton-Williams, more lovingly known as” Ham-Wil,” was built in 1989. Though a wonderful addition to campus, after 24 years it needed some upgrades. Due to outdated decor and awkward traffic flow, students were opting to take their meals to the atrium or outside. Schantz and his staff, with funding and assistance from OWU’s food service provider, Chartwells, saw two solutions: to redirect the flow of traffic by moving the checkout stations to flow into the dining room or to completely redesign the dining rooms to mimic some of the attractive features of the atrium. They freshened all finishes with new painting, flooring, lighting and seating. They also added areas with couches and a fireplace to create a more relaxed, homey atmosphere. Outside, they added umbrellas and round picnic tables to allow for extended seasonal use.” In all, it is reported that attendance in the dining room is up and students love it,” says Schantz.
A project still under way is the restoration of Edwards Gym. Built in 1906, Edwards has been an integral part of OWU’s athletic programs for more than 100 years. For several years however, it has, according to Schantz, been “used around the rain barrels.” So, of high priority are efforts to repair the roof and damage the leaks have caused—work that is is under way, and as Schantz says, “under budget and on schedule to be done in February.” The main renovations are to the roof which was made with beautiful and durable Spanish tile, 80 percent of which are in good repair. The 20 percent that are being replaced are made by the same company that made the original tile: Ludowici Roof Tile in Lexington, Ohio. The main challenge is not the tile, but the underlayment which is a combination of wood, sheet metal, and sealant. Most of this has already been repaired or replaced and the crew is preparing to start replacing the tile soon. Chimneys and gutters will be repaired to give a cohesively fresh look to the beautiful roof. Inside, the water damaged floors will be completely refinished and the damaged plaster walls will be repaired and completely repainted. Additionally, a large skylight (previously covered by insulation) and several clerestory windows (previously covered by plywood) are being restored, providing spectacular natural light that illuminates the beautiful gym. There will also be all new LED, energy efficient light fixtures for when the sun is not shining. February will be an exciting month for many athletes and others on campus! Lower to the ground, more improvements are under way.
Ongoing efforts that have recently received renewed attention are curb side improvements. These small, yet necessary projects include: power washing of buildings on the primary pedestrian routes of Slocum Hall; the plaza facing University Hall; the face of Beeghly Library; the concrete along the JAYwalk; the walls in the Ham-Wil parking lot; the sides of Phillips Hall; the fronts of Bashford, Thomson, and Welch Halls; and all the concrete faces along Oak Hill Avenue from the library to Stuyvesant Hall. Additionally, dead trees and tree branches have been tended to; OWU is working with the Delaware Shade Tree Commission to ensure that every tree cut down is replaced. Even the small details, such as replacing broken bricks and painting parking lot lines have been addressed, all of which may seem insignificant individually, but when combined, are essential to the Ohio Wesleyan that students, faculty, and alumni love and to the image we strive to continue to project to our community and the world.